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Beyond Forty Acres and a MuleAfrican American Landowning Families since Reconstruction$
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Debra Reid and Evan Bennett

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780813039862

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813039862.001.0001

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Black Populism: Agrarian Politics from the Colored Alliance to the People's Party

Black Populism: Agrarian Politics from the Colored Alliance to the People's Party

(p.109) 5 Black Populism: Agrarian Politics from the Colored Alliance to the People's Party
Beyond Forty Acres and a Mule

Omar H. Ali

University Press of Florida

Omar H. Ali explains the ways agricultural interests helped define third-party politics during the 1880s and 1890s, a movement that culminated in the Peoples' Party. Black farmers sought economic stability, rights protection, and political influence. Owners allied across class lines with tenants and laborers, across race lines with a few white peers, such as Richard M. Humphrey, and within their communities with members of mutual benefit associations and rural black churches. They constructed a viable strategy based in moral reform, community uplift, and political activism. Racism marginalized black farmers from full participation in white populist organizations (such as, the Southern Farmers Alliance), so Black Populism emerged with its own organizations (for example, Colored Farmers Alliance), tactics, and leaders (Rev. Walter A. Pattillo, Oliver Cromwell, and Ben Patterson). Yet, conflict arose when farm owners became uneasy with the radical activism that laborers pursued because owners believed strikes proposed by the Cotton Pickers' League threatened their property and security.

Keywords:   Black Populism, Colored Alliance, People's Party, Richard M. Humphrey, Walter A. Pattillo, Oliver Cromwell, Patterson Southern Farmers Alliance, Cotton Pickers' League

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